The U.S. Interior Dept. issued final regulations on Dec. 11 that clarify when consultations with other agencies are required under the Endangered Species Act. Interior says the change was needed to prevent lawmakers from using the law as a back door way to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions.
The new rules were narrower than an August proposal, which was widely criticized by environmental groups. The final version permits agencies to forgo consultation only in limited circumstances, Interior says. Sen. James Inhofe (Okla.), the top environment committee Republican, calls the revision “a step in the right direction.” But the National Audubon Society is not satisfied. It wants the Obama administration and new Congress to revise the rules.